Transportation Safety: Carpooling to work

As picking season starts up, larger numbers of farm workers will be traveling to work. Faced with a low income and the high cost of living, workers understandably have limited options when it comes to being able to afford a car, insurance, maintenance and fuel.

These constraints on transportation options push excess groups of farm workers to travel in dangerous conditions or ride with a raitero. Raiteros services are often unauthorized, charge outrageous and inconsistent prices, practice dangerous driving, and operate unsafe vehicles.

In the 1990s, the number of fatal accidents involving vans transporting farm workers skyrocketed. This crisis prompted legislation to establish stricter farm labor vehicle requirements and appropriated funding for safer transportation options for farm workers.

Now in 2015, progress has been made. Certain counties offer transportation programs with access to safe, convenient and affordable forms of transportation. A more progressive step was the passage of the AB 60 Drivers license bill allowing undocumented workers to obtain their licenses and practice safer driving.

Not complying with these transportation basics isn’t worth the price of trouble with the law and never worth risking your life. Given the history and facts we now know, learn about and join the hundreds of agricultural workers that vanpool to work.

Programs like CalVans provide vans and available routes for California counties including: Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Tulare, Imperial and Ventura.

Contact the CalVans representative, Gustavo Banda at 559-852-2706.

If you’re in Mendocino County, call the Transit Authority at 1-800-696-4MTA.

If you live and work in California outside the listed counties, we invite you to contact the California Vanpool Authority at 866-655-5444 to determine the availability of bringing CalVans to your area.